Insurance Blog

Posted: 10/11/20236,149 Views

With more than a thousand temples, 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and some of the most storied scenery in all of Japan, it’s no surprise that Kyoto is consistently ranked as one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

However, when scores of tourists visit a place that’s steeped in tradition, they’re bound to commit some cultural faux pas and disrupt the life of local residents to some degree. 

To help minimize the disruption and make things easier on tourists, Kyoto’s tourism authority has published a list of “don’ts” for travelers to the city called Akimahen, which translates to “do not” in English. 

Follow these rules when visiting Kyoto to be respectful of the city and its residents.

  1. Don’t Smoke Outside
    You can only smoke outdoors in designated areas in Kyoto. If you’re caught smoking outside of a designated area, you can be fined 1,000 yen.
  2. Stay Back from Taxis
    The taxis in Kyoto have automatic doors. When the taxi pulls up, be sure you stand back far enough to let the door open safely.
  3. Do Not Tip
    There is no tipping custom in Japan, including in Kyoto. If you want to express gratitude to a server or other worker for a job well done, simply say “okini,” which means “thank you” in the Kyoto dialect.
  4. Remove Your Shoes
    You must always take off your shoes before stepping onto the tatami mats on the floor of Kyoto buildings. It is considered polite to remove your slippers as well.
  5. Don’t Cut in Line
    Queuing is a part of local culture, and it is impolite to not maintain your place in line. Just be patient and wait for your turn, even if you are in a hurry.
  6. Never Bicycle While Intoxicated
    It is strictly forbidden to ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol in Kyoto. If you are caught, you could be fined more than one million yen and be sentenced to five years in prison.
  7. Give Up Your Seat
    When on a train or other transport, you are expected to relinquish your seat to disabled, pregnant, or elderly people, as well as people traveling with small children.
  8. Don’t Take Photos Near Train Tracks
    No matter how much you may want the photo, it is not worth the risk of being struck by a train.
  9. Temple Etiquette
    When entering a temple or shrine, always remove your hat and sunglasses. Be quiet and respectful, and do not take photos in areas where photography is prohibited. In all historic areas, please refrain from touching anything. These ancient areas are considered national treasures and you could damage them.
  10. Be Respectful of Maiko
    Always ask maiko before taking photos of them. Never stop them and force them to take a photo with you, and never tug on their kimonos or touch them in any way. They are doing their jobs and deserve to be treated with respect.
  11. Never Litter
    Kyoto has strict laws about littering, especially near tourist sites. If you are caught littering in Kyoto you could be subject to a fine of 30,000 yen.
  12. Restaurant Etiquette
    Never bring your own food or drink into a restaurant in Kyoto. It is also considered extremely impolite to cancel a Kyoto restaurant reservation at the last minute. If you have no choice but to cancel, let the restaurant know as soon as possible.
  13. Keep Bathrooms Clean
    Toilets in Kyoto may be different than what you’re used to. Please use them courteously and always clean up after yourself.
  14. Let Others Pass
    The streets of Kyoto are narrow and can be crowded. Take your time, do not bump into others, and let others pass when they need to get by.
  15. Park Your Bicycle Correctly
    You must park your bicycle in a designated bicycle parking area. Never just leave it in the road or leaning up against a building. The fine for illegally parking your bicycle is $2,300 yen.

Take the Extra Step with Travel Insurance

Even if you follow every etiquette rule in Kyoto, you still might suffer an unexpected travel mishap. So, be sure you’re a prepared traveler with the right insurance coverage.

Travel medical insurance is designed to protect you in case of any new illness or injury that occurs while traveling outside your home country. It can allow you to get the best available local care, all for a price that will not take you by surprise. A travel medical insurance can even cover expensive emergency medical evacuation if it is necessary.

American residents traveling to Kyoto can consider travel insurance. It is designed to protect your trip investment in the event of an unexpected cancellation, delay, or interruption. It can also protect you in the event of lost or delayed baggage, and can provide emergency medical coverage.

Make sure you’re prepared for your Kyoto trip by following the guidelines above and having the right insurance coverage. Then you can enjoy your vacation with maximum peace of mind.

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